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ABC of RAW: What do I NEED?
After several years experimenting with jpegs on iphoto, preview, capture nx... I would like to move on to RAW with the purpose of making medium to large prints..

What I have:- a nikon dslr with 14 and 12bit RAW Modes- a mac running OS X 10.5- an apple 23" cinemaHDdisplay- nikon capture nx- photoshop CS1 (never used).

I understand that I need a display calibrator for making colour profiles.-What do you recommend?.

I also need a good RAW converter.- Capture One? Bibble?.

A file management tool.- Adobe Lightroom? Aperture?.

A post processing tool..

- Adobe Photoshop? Every time I look into photoshop I am petrified with fear, it seems sooo complex...

I know there's no easy way out but what would you recommend for starters?.

I know this kind of question gets asked around alot, but after considerable searching I still haven't found a simple abc answer. Maybe you can help me..

Thanks!..

Comments (11)

I use PS CS3 and ACR4.3, and I have not gone through the process of doing any calibration on my monitor (Samsung 226bw), but the prints seem to match the display quite well. Photoshop can appear to be extremely overwhelming, but there are tons of video tutorials on the web to get you started...

Comment #1

Let me comment on your last issue, ie, that your general question re how to get started with RAW gets asked and answered often...but never simply! Part of the problem is that it's not especially simple to correctly process a digital pic..

Although I'm old and my short-term memory is suspect, I DO remember how difficult it was to figure out how to use PS w/o a full-time instructor! Looking back, I wish I had done it differently....

I'm going to take a provocative approach (because I like to be provocative...it's fun to have goof-balls respond to my posts with anger and hostility). .

First, an admission: I am not an Adobe fan. I HAVE used many Adobe software packages over the years and I continue to use them. I currently use PSE6 and LR. I'm even thinking about getting CS3 (because PSE6 doesn't allow me to simplify processing of massive numbers of pix by using actions and/or batches). I won't like using CS3, but it will get the job done. The problem with "old" programs like PhotoShop is that they get "stuck"...the architect(s) were not as brilliant as they thought and didn't anticipate where the interface needed to go in the future.



Thus, it's strange that I, of all people, might recommend an Adobe solution...after all, I'm pretty negative where they are concerned. But recently, they started a totally new direction. It's simply brilliant! My crystal ball says that it's the basis for future products from Adobe. I already see that they are expanding it's features..

I'm talking about Lightroom. As you said, at it's core, it's a photo database...well you called it a "file management tool", but it's much more than that! I has an amazing ability to do many types of editing. The WAY you interact with LR is the brilliant part...the core processing algorithms seem to be standard PS stuff. The problems with Adobe have never been their algorithms, but rather their metaphors have been dated and awkward for "normal" people. Lightroom signals that SOMEBODY at Adobe finally "gets it"!.

My recommendation is to simply get the LR 30-day trial and download this tutoral:.

Http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials/Photoshop_LR/01/index.html.

Michael Tapes will get you intrigued and educated enough to start LR. There is a good LR Forum on the Adobe site where you can ask questions. If after 30-days you don't love it, then drop that approach and do what somebody else recommends..

Also see my comments below....

Gfrancois wrote:.

After several years experimenting with jpegs on iphoto, preview,capture nx... I would like to move on to RAW with the purpose ofmaking medium to large prints..

What I have:- a nikon dslr with 14 and 12bit RAW Modes- a mac running OS X 10.5- an apple 23" cinemaHDdisplay- nikon capture nx- photoshop CS1 (never used).

I understand that I need a display calibrator for making colourprofiles.-What do you recommend?.

I'm led to believe that there are several good ones. Perhaps the GretagMacbeth iOne Display V2?.

I also need a good RAW converter.- Capture One? Bibble?.

Both are good, but you already have C-NX which is really good for your D300/D3. Also, LR uses ACR, which is also good..

A file management tool.- Adobe Lightroom? Aperture?.

A post processing tool.- Adobe Photoshop? Every time I look into photoshop I am petrifiedwith fear, it seems sooo complex...

CSn IS complex! Start with LR...it's much simpler. BUT, it will not do some complex tasks. At this juncture, you will still need some flavor of PS to do separations, layers, access plugins. and use actions..

To learn PS, hang out on the Retouching Forum....

I know there's no easy way out but what would you recommend forstarters?.

As I said, start out with LR, then slowly pickup PS as you need advanced features..

I know this kind of question gets asked around alot, but afterconsiderable searching I still haven't found a simple abc answer.Maybe you can help me..

Thanks!.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #2

Gfrancois wrote:.

- an apple 23" cinemaHDdisplay.

Sweet !.

- nikon capture nx.

That's enough software..

If you want to try more ( and you don't need to ) try RawTherapee ( which is free )..

- photoshop CS1 (never used).

Junk. Out of date..

I understand that I need a display calibrator for making colourprofiles.-What do you recommend?.

You don't need to mess with profiles unless you absolutely need to produce pro results. For the rest of us I'd suggest just matching a photo on screen of something like a DVD cover or book cover ( lots of color ) photographed in daylight with what you see on screen. Another alternative - photograph what you see out the window on a bright sunny day and compare the on-screen with it..

The reason for emphasizing sunlight is because in any other light, of course, you run into white balance issues..

Use sRGB ( camera and monitor ) unless you have a reason to use AdobeRGB because your monitor will support sRGB but no AdobeRGB. AdobeRGB is a wide range of colors but few ordinary people will notice the difference. I certainly would not recommend you start from here because you MUST use color profile when using AdobeRGB because your monitor display won't represent colors properly/.

I also need a good RAW converter.- Capture One? Bibble?.

You already have this. Again - RawTherapee is a good starting point.LightZone is another favorite of mine..

There's a capturenx website ( by Nikon ) - start there..

A file management tool.- Adobe Lightroom? Aperture?.

Never use them - can't help..

A post processing tool.- Adobe Photoshop? Every time I look into photoshop I am petrifiedwith fear, it seems sooo complex...

CaptureNX will do most of it, as will RawTherapee..

GIMP is a free package suitable for JPEGs. Very well featured. Cinepaint is another option - better for 16-bit images..

LightZone has some editing support, although it's not quite an editor, although it's very close..

I know there's no easy way out but what would you recommend forstarters?.

Try to work with what you have - why spend money you don't have to ? .

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #3

Gfrancois wrote:.

After several years experimenting with jpegs on iphoto, preview,capture nx... I would like to move on to RAW with the purpose ofmaking medium to large prints..

What I have:- a nikon dslr with 14 and 12bit RAW Modes- a mac running OS X 10.5- an apple 23" cinemaHDdisplay- nikon capture nx.

Capture NX is the best raw converter for Nikon NEF files..

- photoshop CS1 (never used).

Photoshop is capable of handling NEF files, but you may need to upgrade to CS3- I'm not sure how far back Adobe supports their raw converter..

I understand that I need a display calibrator for making colourprofiles.-What do you recommend?.

Any of the appropriate devices will work. Printer profiles are more difficult....

I also need a good RAW converter.- Capture One? Bibble?.

You have at least one, maybe two, a third would be overkill..

A file management tool.- Adobe Lightroom? Aperture?.

Depends- they're not necessary, but useful..

A post processing tool.- Adobe Photoshop? Every time I look into photoshop I am petrifiedwith fear, it seems sooo complex...

Get Kelby's Photoshop CS for Digital Photographers..

I know there's no easy way out but what would you recommend forstarters?.

Depends a lot on how you intend to print..

Paulhttp://PaulDRobertson.imagekind.com..

Comment #4

Obviously, you have all put more effort in answering my post than I did in formulating it, and for that, I am very much obliged. Thanks, I have learned something...

Comment #5

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #6

Gfrancois wrote:.

After several years experimenting with jpegs on iphoto, preview,capture nx... I would like to move on to RAW with the purpose ofmaking medium to large prints..

What I have:- a nikon dslr with 14 and 12bit RAW Modes- a mac running OS X 10.5- an apple 23" cinemaHDdisplay- nikon capture nx- photoshop CS1 (never used).

I understand that I need a display calibrator for making colourprofiles.-What do you recommend?.

X-Rite Eye-One Display 2. Generally better regarded than Spyder X..

I also need a good RAW converter.- Capture One? Bibble?.

For Nikon, others may know better and Nikon Capture gest good reports from users. I'm happy with Lightroom for it's workflow, but need to profile my (Canon) cameras for more accurate colour..

A file management tool.- Adobe Lightroom? Aperture?.

Lightroom is good, but many Mac users seem to prefer Aperture..

A post processing tool.- Adobe Photoshop? Every time I look into photoshop I am petrifiedwith fear, it seems sooo complex...

I know what you mean. Photoshop CS3 is the gold standard. You can use it as a more basic editing tool and build on that as you learn more. As other have said, there are plenty of video tutorials on the web, plus some reasonable books that are worth reading..

Good luck with it all!.

Cheers from John from Adelaide, South AustraliaJohn Harvey Photography http://johnharvey.com.auCanon 40D, Canon 20D & Fuji F10..

Comment #7

I am just curious as to why you think you need to shoot in RAW, for the purpose of making medium to large prints?Ed.

Gfrancois wrote:.

After several years experimenting with jpegs on iphoto, preview,capture nx... I would like to move on to RAW with the purpose ofmaking medium to large prints...

Comment #8

You can learn Photoshop from Lynda.com or Total Training Videos. I've seen some of them and they're really good. They go through everything. There's also several photoshop Dummies books and even if they're off by a version, you should still have the same functionality...

Comment #9

Picasa2 is a free download from goggle, kind of like Goggle Earth. This software is easy to learn, it will take you about an hour or less and you'll have some fun with it for sure. It will motivate you to want to move on to more serious image editing, probably Elements 6 or whatever version it is at when you get interested..

The other great thing is that it will convert your RAW files, no big deal, nothing to know, just "presto" the files are converted. You can also use Picasa to display your shots on the internet as it now has a program, within it's program to do that for you..

Not bad, for free.Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #10

Good suggestion. Lots of people started with Picasa. But I think he's beyond that?.

The Picasa RAW converter is limited and you loose much of the benefits of RAW, ie, that with RAW you have latitide to adjust stuff. Proper RAW converters let you go BACK and say "What would the pic look like if I used a different camera setting?".

Rsn48 wrote:.

Picasa2 is a free download from goggle, kind of like Goggle Earth.This software is easy to learn, it will take you about an hour orless and you'll have some fun with it for sure. It will motivate youto want to move on to more serious image editing, probably Elements 6or whatever version it is at when you get interested..

The other great thing is that it will convert your RAW files, no bigdeal, nothing to know, just "presto" the files are converted. Youcan also use Picasa to display your shots on the internet as it nowhas a program, within it's program to do that for you..

Not bad, for free.Rationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell.

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #11

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